We have read a lot of info about the candidates, heard a lot of inside information on them from the political world, seen most of the 28 speak, and now hereby list our endorsements:
1. Tim Mullen (Libertarian)
2. Mike Lacey (Libertarian)
3. John Ruckno (R)
4. Eugene Kelleher (R)
5. Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt (R)
6. Charlie "Bible Buck" Hatchko
7. Blythe Evans (R)
8. Stephen A. Urban (D)
9. Harry Haas (R)
10 Jeremy Packard (Independent)
11 Kathy Dobash (R)
Criteria: Freedom from political connections, support of keeping taxes low, vision for the future, knowledge of liberty philosophy, practical knowledge.
1. Tim Mullen (Libertarian) Probably the hardest working candidate for council, Mullen is on a mission to stop corruption and liberate taxpayers from a heavier tax burden. His appreciation for small, efficient government will help him see through flimsy boondoggles such as CityVest. He has the street smarts to see through BS, and is the ideal candidate to reduce the county's debt and and to fiscal integrity.
2. Mike Lacey (Libertarian) Lacey is the most pro-small business candidate. As owner of a small family pharmacy in Freeland, he understands that the elimination of corrupt privileges given to insiders known as "pay for play," will attract small businesses and increase the tax base in order to pay off the debt. He has the best vision for the future of all the candidates.
3. John Ruckno (R) Ruckno comes from a family of builders, which may turn off many, but one must note that the Rucknos are not nearly as political as builders like the House of Sordoni. The only person he has contributed money to is state senator Lisa Baker (R). He seems to be honest, and has made a solid pledge to pay off the debt and preferably without raising taxes. He brings some practical financial experience to the table as well.
4. Eugene Kelleher (R) Despite his gallantly corny commercials, Kelleher has the honesty and smarts to make a good councilman. He has been endorsed by Walter Griffith, and will be an independent watchdog for those of us without connections to government.
5. Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt (R) Joyce has stood against the political tide when it is wrong, and has a history of refusing to support corrupt politicians and has suffered for it. She has diverse career experience, good communication skills, and is also quite an expert on HomeRule government, having received advice from people with varied views on it. Most importantly, she is willing to listen to advice and really will give citizens a "voice" when they vote for Joyce.
6. Charlie "Bible Buck" Hatchko (American Independent) Many may roll their eyes that the guy who always calls into Corbett quoting the Bible is running for Council, but for anyone who has met him, Buck is an honest man who has the right type of attitude to be a force for good in Luzerne County government. He brings practical experience, having negotiated union contracts in the past, and having watched the political scene closely for a long time. He knows who all the bad guys are and who to watch out for. He'll be a wise old addition to the council, and would seem to appeal to both D's and R's despite his Bible thumping ways if everyone knew enough about him.
7. Blythe Evans (R) Evans has a good message that includes paying off the debt and reducing waste in government. But he gets too caught up in shenanigans and bizarre campaign posturing. If he can at least abstain from such political ways, he'll make a good councilman.
8. Stephen A. Urban (D) Urban has been more of an outspoken critic of corruption than anyone else in county government except maybe Walter Griffith. Although Urban sometimes plays the part of a politician, he usually speaks out. For those who may be mad at him for switching parties, friends close to Urban say he's still the same man.
9. Harry Haas (R) Haas comes from a good ideological background, but his reputation of being a "party person" is troubling. He also seemed to cower before the Times Leader staff when he said he wouldn't rule out raising taxes, which is what the numbskull reporter wanted to hear. (Reporters just go by how calm and nice a candidate speaks; they totally disregard all points of substance--unlike we here at the NuPo ;-) Haas is also very over-rated. In the end though, we think Haas is an alright candidate worth considering.
10 Jeremy Packard (Independent) Packard seems to believe that all the council needs to do is stand back and let the manager manage. This may work if the manager is good, but if the council elects a bad manager, and the majority wants him to stay in power, then Packard's ideal of a Home Rule Government will be a failure. Word also has it that he may be more connected to the rich than anyone else, who are probably looking for handouts. However, many good people have vied for Packard, and he seems like someone who will think about things intelligently.
11 Kathy Dobash (R) "She's crazy, but she won't put up with any corruption", says one supporter. Dobash has gained respect as an activist and advocate for transparency and taxpayer defense. Although she may be a little severe at times, in the end she'll be a force for good.
We understand that many prefer Democrat-types to vote for. We have tried in vain to find good ones, but most seem to have an unrealistic view of government. Overall, their appetite for government programs will prove problematic for the cause of paying of the colossal county debt. Their vague platforms are problematic as well. Nevertheless, because some of our readers may think otherwise, we've decided to list some of the top Democrat-types:
1. Stephen A. Urban (D)
2. Charlie "Bible Buck" Hatcko (American Independent)
3. Rick Williams (Independent) Williams is obviously on the left end of the political spectrum, being a Democrat up until March 2011, and listing the word "progress" on his literature. Nevertheless, he is smart enough to do good job on matters where such beliefs cannot cloud his vision.
4. Tim McGinley (D) McGinley's stern countenance is fitting for a former principal, yet he seems to have an overly rosy view of the charter, having called it "the best form of government possible". He has played a role in grant-writing, and may believe he can legislate prosperity. Otherwise, he seems like an honest candidate with a lot of managerial experience, who wants to help the county.
All other candidates are decidedly not endorsed.